Celebrate in the Festival Capital of the World
Festivals, Food, and Fun! New Orleans is a city where you can always find something to celebrate.
In New Orleans, the festivities and entertainment never stop. Whether it’s the French Quarter Festival or the famous Mardi Gras, New Orleans has plenty of festivals worth attending.
There is always a reason to celebrate in New Orleans
New Orleans is internationally known for the Mardi Gras festival, so participating in this celebration is a must. Also called Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras is held the day before Ash Wednesday, but its festivities begin months before. See the beautifully detailed floats in the parade or find yourself a King’s Cake, a Mardi Gras tradition and treat, and eat it up with some friends. Don’t forget to wear a mask for the festivities happening.
Where: New Orleans French Quarter
Held in the famous French Quarter and full of live music, the French Quarter Festival is worth attending. The musicians that perform at this event are local which means you will discover new, authentic music on all 23 stages of the festival. If you get hungry or thirsty from jamming out, be sure to check out the local vendors for some delicious treats and drinks. This festival is free to attend.
If you have some extra time, be sure to stroll around and discover the beauty of the French Quarter. Walk down Bourbon Street or visit the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. Don’t forget to grab a beignet at Café Du Monde before you leave.
Where: New Orleans French Quarter
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a music festival worth attending. Full of rich culture and music, this 10-day festival features musicians from all over. Past performers include Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not only is the festival full of live music, but it is also full of crafts and food. Local vendors sell unique handmade crafts and serve delicious food including some of New Orleans favorites such as jambalaya, crawfish and po’boys.
Where: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, 1751 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70119
The Bayou Boogaloo is truly a NOLA-style party with lots of live music, food, arts and handicrafts. To keep the kids entertained, Bayou Boogaloo has a kid's stage, along with other fun games and activities for children. Some of those events include 5K race, the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl, a Bicycle Second Line and more. And, best of all, admission is FREE!
Where: Along Bayou Saint John at Orleans Ave. and N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy
Essence Festival is a weekend event filled with the best in R&B, hip-hop, jazz, blues and more! The annual three-day event features of some of the best musical performers, artist craftsmanship, as well as a series of seminars where some of the most knowledgeable experts to share their ideas and tips to pursue your personal success. For more details and a full listing of performers and speakers, visit www.essence.com/festival.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sugar Bowl Dr. New Orleans, LA 70112
New Orleans is world-renowned for the taste and quality of its seafood, so there’s no better place to hold the Louisiana Seafood Festival. Featuring more than 20 highly regarded restaurants, this annual festival gives you the opportunity to enjoy the best seafood from the city’s culinary experts. While the mouth- watering food is the main focus, you can also enjoy a variety of attractions including musical entertainment, demonstrations by celebrity chefs, children’s activities, a beer garden and more.
Where: City Park Festival Grounds 1701 Wisner Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70124
Every year, the Voodoo Music Festival places New Orleans under a weekend-long spell of music, food, crafts and culture. The Festival began in 1999 and has grown in size ever since. For three whole days, the festival takes over City Park with two main stages and several smaller stages, not to mention countless local food and beverage vendors. Many local shops also take to the fest to sell everything from clothing to jewelry, art and everything in between.
Where: City Park 1 Palm Drive New Orleans, LA 70124
Make sure to bring an appetite when you attend the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. This festival celebrates the sounds of the blues and has featured performers such as Nikki Hill, Taj Mahal and Kenny Neal. Make sure to come hungry because different styles of mouthwatering BBQ are another key note in this festival. This year’s event will be held in Lafayette Square Park with free admission, so get ready to tap your toes to the beats while enjoying authentic barbecue.
Where: Lafayette Square Park 540 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
No matter your flavor, New Orleans is sure to have a savory Cajun dish guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds.Willie Mae's Scotch House
When you head to New Orleans, you’ll hear all about the gumbo, the po'boys, the oysters and all that jazz, but one of the single best items you can eat in this city is the fried chicken at Willie Mae’s. Located in the heart of the Treme, this place is old school NOLA at its very best.
Address: 2401 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
If there’s a po'boy standard-bearer in New Orleans, it’s likely Parkway Bakery & Tavern. The family-owned restaurant has been a neighborhood landmark since it opened in 1911 and was the site of an incredible Katrina comeback reopening less than four months after taking on six feet of water in the flood.
The infamous Surf and Turf, a roast beef and shrimp monster that should sate your appetite for about a week. Add a bag of chips and a bottle of root beer and you’ve got a meal that's sure to satisfy any appetite.
Along with the good eats, catch an outdoor movie at the Parkway Bakery each Monday during the month of May. Movie night features a themed po'boy specials, movie trivia, costume contest and more!
Address: 538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Recently featured on the travel channel, Mother's restaurant is a popular cafeteria-style joint that's been drawing crowds with down-home Southern entrees since 1938. Locals and tourists alike flock to Mother's Restaurant for top-notch comfort food, classic po'boys and tasty breakfast favorites served all day. While there's often a line out the door at this Big Easy landmark, the bread pudding alone is worth the wait
Address: 401 Poydras St. New Orleans, LA 70130
3Fun & Adventure
Looking for a good time and a fun adventure, any of these places are sure to give you that and more!
The Frenchmen Street entertainment district began developing in the 1980s. As Bourbon Street became more tourist-focused, Frenchmen emerged as a spot for locals to party, as it was more geared toward authentic New Orleans musical tastes. Located just walking distance from Bourbon and the French Quarter, it’s most popular section is a two-block stretch in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, which is known for its wide variety of live music venues.
And best of all, on Frenchmen Street the drinks and admission are cheap and sometimes free!
Nothing to do on Wednesday afternoons? Come to Lafayette Square for a taste of great New Orleans music, food and fun! Wednesday at the Square is a 12 week series of free outdoor concerts by well-known New Orleans and Louisiana artists that will liven up your spirits and maybe even get you into a dancing mood.
Elevated above the crowd on a big sound stage, bands will perform a wide variety of indigenous musical styles, including jazz, rock, funk, swamp pop, Latin rhythms and more. In addition, you will be treated to the sounds of some of New Orleans' most famous brass bands. Bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on the ground, but the front of the stage is reserved for dancing!
When: Every Wednesday 5-8 pm (March 2-June 1)
Location: Lafayette Square 602 Camp St. New Orleans, LA 70130
Louisiana Swamp Tour
Looking for the ultimate down south swamp experience? Take one of the New Orleans Swamp Tours to get up close and personal with an alligator, cruise leisurely along the mysterious, moss-draped bayous and see exotic flora and fauna found nowhere else in the country.
You never know what you’ll see and each tour is a unique adventure that never happens exactly the same way twice. To find out more about swamp tours and the many other tours New Orleans has to offer visit http://louisianaswamp.com/.